Mental health stigma could have been difference between Me living Or being yet another mental illness statistic: workplace terminates me and takes away my bipolar lifeline, my health insuranceRead Now
workplace terminates me and takes away one of my lifelines, my health insurance
Ultimately, I was fortunate. With the support of my friends and family, and drawing upon my own hard work and determination, I was able to improve and become the person I am today.
But mental health stigma was another barrier to wellness that could have easily been the difference between me living this life or becoming another mental illness statistic.
Don't those of us with bipolar disorder already have to fight hard enough to stay alive corporate america?
Next year, over 25,000 Americans will die by suicide. Half of them will have bipolar disorder. How many can be saved is up to us. Up to Corporate America. Up to those workplaces that continue to allow stigma to fester. That continue to fire those with this serious brain disorders because we are too depressed to work. To string two coherent thoughts together. Or, we are too manic and we upset your work-life culture or you work us too hard and force us into manic states. Or, because we are simply misunderstood as people. Yes, we are just like you. People.
We, as a society, can come together and eradicate the stigma which is quite simply killing us and putting us in early graves. For far too long, the bipolar community has been ignored. Just but one example, in a post explaining why, A Call for Spending Equality Given Devastating Impact of this Killer Disease by Kerry Martin, our Chief Purpose Officer and Mental Health Activist.
It is currently estimated that 4 to 6% of the population has some form of bipolar disorder, with the disease affecting 5.7 million adults, 2.6% of population age 18 and older. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 83% of these cases are considered severe, with 51% not receiving healthcare treatment.
The risk of suicide among those living with bipolar disorder is 20 to 30 times greater than the general population and significantly higher than other depressive disorders. Over their lifetime, 80% battle suicidal ideation and approximately 28% will attempt suicide within five years.
Fifty percent of those with bipolar will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, with up to 11% dying by suicide. Some studies indicate that the suicide rate is closer to 20%.
addendum: WHY ACCELERATING SOCIAL GOOD LAUNCHED, IN COLLABORATION WITH MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATES & CONCERNED CITIZENS, A CAMPAIGN TO CREATE STIGMA-FREE WORKPLACES
Gabe didn't deserve what happened to him but we are so happy here with us now as he is an outstanding mental health advocate and a treasured member of our mental health community. However, he like anyone else with a serious brain disorder or, anyone else who is in need of mental health support (clinical diagnosis or not), deserves empathy, grace, caring and kindness at the workplace. In too many workplaces however, that is simply not the reality.
We also all deserve to work in stigma-free environments that enable us to flourish and do our best work for our employers and for ourselves so we may feel of the utmost value. So we feel we belong. So we feel worthy. Not a total lack of empathy and caring friends. Because we as human beings always deserve that. Always.
Today, our workplaces, more often than not, are not safe places. They are not empathetic, kind or caring. And they are chock-a-block full of stigma. Case in point, the Great Resignation where droves are leaving as they don't feel they are getting the deserved mental health support. Whilst it's easy to build a business case for why companies should bring in proper mental health programs and supports, still far too many have failed to do so.
Gabe Howard, Bipolar Speaker & Writer, Host: Inside Mental Health: A Psych Central Podcast, Author, Mental Illness is an Asshole & Kerry Martin, Chief Purpose Officer, Accelerating Social Good & Mental Health Activist Flourishing with a Bipolar Diagnosis